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ASU Football: Alden Darby Earns Pat Tillman Jersey

Alden Darby sported the prestigious Pat Tillman 42 jersey at practice on Sunday.

Alden Darby wore the Pat Tillman No. 42 jersey this spring.
Alden Darby wore the Pat Tillman No. 42 jersey this spring.

Alden Darby may never have the chance to impact the world like Pat Tillman did, but he continues to draw comparisons from coach Todd Graham. For the second consecutive year, Darby earned the rare honor of donning Pat Tillman's No. 42 camouflage jersey. The tradition was implemented during Graham's inaugural season, and everyone understands the honor is the ultimate compliment.

Darby exemplifies ideal leadership, and the accomplishment is well deserved. The starting safety seems like another coach on the field, consistently helping other players with their assignments. However, Darby isn't all talk, he backs it up with hard work that commands respect.

"He's (Darby) a guy I think Pat would be proud he's wearing it," Graham said on Darby rocking Tillmans' jersey. "In the classroom and in the community, he deserves that jersey, and hopefully he will keep it for the rest of the year."

On the gridiron, the ASU secondary will rely heavily on Darby's experience and talents because of Keelan Johnson's departure to the NFL. Darby may play alongside one of the newcomers, meaning his guidance will be crucial.

Other Practice Notes

  • Today was Sunday, but in coach Graham's world, it's Thursday. Slightly confusing, but true. The unique practice featured lots of special teams preparation.
  • "We're trying to simulate a game and script and all the different situations," Graham said. "The volume of what we have to cover from the hands team to the must onside, to punt safe, field goal safe, field goal block, a lot of things to cover."
  • If ASU needs to recover an onside kick, the unit Graham will call upon is known as "All-State." Get it? You're in good hands.
  • The defense had four offside penalties again today, the same amount as the Camp Tontozona scrimmage. Four encroachments matched ASU's season total in 2012.